‘Thirty years ago, a positive HIV status was considered a death sentence. As treatments for the disease have advanced over the past three decades, we’re wondering how younger people view the disease today.’
Hundreds of people e-mailed and commented with their reactions. We also gathered reactions from young folks we met on the street…”
Listen to our two podcasts “I Won’t Tell You” Parts 1 and 2, as HIV-affected and HIV-positive teens discuss talking about your HIV status with your partners, HIV stigma, and the importance of getting tested and knowing your status. To Know is To Know. Get tested today!
Also featured are some musical tracks recommended by the teens and producers that they feel tie directly to the themes discussed. Enjoy a cool blend of music and learn more about HIV testing by listening to their stories today.
Podcasts Copyright FCAN 2012. FCAN does not own any of the music featured in these podcasts. Creative Commons licensed remixes were used in the making of this podcast and are attributed below. “Fly” is originally by Nicki Minaj and the property of Young Money. “Take Care” is originally by Drake and is the property of Young Money. “Changes” is originally by Tupac but was recorded by francisilustre without use of samples. “Climax” is originally by Usher and is the property of RCA.
"Nicki Minaj & Rihanna (Fly) vs. Tritonal & Muse - H.C.D. Mashup" (HappyCatDisco</ a>) / CC BY 3.0
"Drake - Take Care (DJ Cable Edit)" (djcable) / CC BY 3.0
"There, I’ve said it. Stop reading, unfriend me. Call me a bore. But no matter, I’m joining the painfully thin ranks of those who say our community’s lack of action has to be addressed. Simply put, we need to put smoking cessation programs front and centre. Turning a blind eye on smoking is destroying prospects of healthy living. Let’s be big boys and girls. Let’s be brave, be strong, acknowledge our vulnerabilities, individually and collectively, and care for each other and our community in ways we haven’t tried before."
If you believe you have PTSD from experiencing or hearing about a traumatic event this is a great checklist of some common symptoms. They recommend using it as a guide to talk to a therapist or medical provider.
I heard about a new STD called the Blue Waffle. What is it?
FCAN has been looking into this, and a representative from FCAN spoke to a doctor. The Blue Waffle is a hoax created on the internet using photoshop and fake websites. It is not a real STD. Vaginitis, which is similar in supposed “symptoms” to the Blue Waffle, can be researched here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001899/
The Ambassadors said, this question is a complicated one. There are many reasons that parents don’t tell their children how they got HIV.
•’She: They may be ashamed, not ready to talk about it, or blaming someone for their HIV.
•Queen B: They may be waiting for a kid to reach a certain age before they tell him/her about it. It’s private information, and they may not usually talk to their kids about their sex lives, so it could be hard for them to tell you about that. They may not want to set a bad example.
•Young&Powerful: Maybe they don’t actually know how they got it, or they got it because they did things they don’t want their kid to do, so they don’t talk to their kid about it.
•FCAN would like to add that talking about HIV is often difficult for parents for many reasons, and that seeking help from a mental health professional is a great way for parents to begin the discussion with children.
The Ambassadors said: An opportunistic infection takes advantage of the ‘opportunity’ to infect someone with a weakened immune system due to HIV or AIDS. Basically, the immune system is compromised and can’t fight the infection off like it normally would. Opportunistic infections can have very severe consequences for HIV-positive people. For more information about opportunistic infections, please go to: http://www.avert.org/hiv-opportunistic-infections.htm
Why are people still getting HIV when there is so much information out there to prevent it?
•BritBrat: They are still having unprotected sex. Some people don’t care or don’t believe HIV is real until it happens to them.
•’She: Some people aren’t educated. We don’t all get enough education in our schools today to help us make the right choices.
• Queen B: Some people are lying to their partners and are actually unfaithful, or they simply don’t want to use protection during sex. Some are also too ashamed to get condoms or [mistakenly] think condoms are gross.
•FCAN would like to add that some people have stereotypes about the type of person they think would be likely to catch HIV. These individuals may believe that they ‘only date clean people’ when they actually have no way of knowing their partners’ status without seeing their test results.
The short answer, according to the BASUAH Ambassadors, is yes, usually it is. Transmission of HIV from the mother to the child can occur during birth. But there are steps you can take to give birth safely:
•QueenB: If you take your medication and follow your doctor’s advice, it is pretty safe [a less than 2% chance of HIV transmission]. But it’s not just the mother who needs to take the medicine, the baby has to take it for at least a month after birth also. Then after birth, the baby has to be tested several times, up until 4 to 6 months. If your viral load is low, then you have a better chance at preventing your baby from being exposed to HIV.
FCAN would like to add that:
•Sperm washing and artificial insemination are two procedures that help to ensure that creating a baby does not transmit HIV to either partner
The Ambassadors said, HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS is the most advanced stage of the HIV disease.
HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s helper T cells, which are an important part of your immune system. Without T cells, your immune system is vulnerable to attack. When a person is infected with HIV, if they do not take their medications to keep the virus from attacking the T cells, HIV will keep on attacking T cells, and if the T cell count gets low enough, HIV can progress to AIDS. When a person has AIDS, they are much more vulnerable to everyday illnesses because their immune system can no longer keep them healthy.
FCAN’s BASUAH Project has received many questions since the beginning of the blog. BASUAH-certified Peer Ambassadors have gathered together to answer your questions! The reason they have become BASUAH ambassadors are shown below:
1. Kids need to be more educated from a young age: there is not enough education in elementary and middle schools, but kids are experimenting earlier and earlier nowadays.
2. People need to be aware and receive HIV/STI/general sexual education outside of schools. They need to hear from their parents and from forums like this one.
3. There is a lot of false information out there about HIV and STI’s, and the BASUAH Ambassadors hope to change that.
4. People need to ‘strap up’ (use protection) and learn more about themselves and their health before deciding to have sex with someone else.
The Ambassadors also would like to share with you their nicknames and a little about themselves:
•Queen B: Age 40. Likes to help people take care of themselves, and especially likes talking to teens.
•BritBrat: Age 21. She is very talkative and likes to make people laugh.
•’She: Age 21. She describes herself as ‘very open-minded.’
•Young&Powerful: Age 20. She likes to have fun.
The Ambassadors are looking forward to answering your questions! If you’d like to become an Ambassador, contact FCAN at 312-855-9000. If you have a question you’d like to submit, use our ask box on our blog or email email@example.com.
In a devastating blow to statewide efforts to curb the AIDS epidemic, the Illinois General Assembly enacted a state budget yesterday that slashes funding for community-based HIV prevention, care and housing programs by 42%.
FCAN is grateful to all affiliates who rallied against the cuts.
This Sunday night, the Chicago House is sponsoring the 2nd Annual Memories of a Mini Ball, an event that promises to be legendary in more ways than one.
For the uninitiated, the “Ballroom community” is a historically a dynamic LBGT subculture in which people can compete for prizes and respect by “walking” or “vogueing.” The Mini Ball is also an opportunity for HIV prevention outreach. In collaboration with the Legendary Mother Solomon Infiniti, who is hosting and promoting the event, Chicago House will be distributing condoms and lubricant, and offering HIV testing.
It’s part of a growing trend of community-based organizations reaching out to the ballroom scene in an attempt to “meet people where they’re at,” said Liz Thompson, HIV coordinator for the Chicago House.
The event is from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Captain Hardtimes, 436 East 79th Street. Lois Bates, a beloved transgender health worker and HIV activist who died last year, will be honored at the event along with other legendary figures in the ball community.
"If the choice is her medication or our housing, we will be homeless."
That was an actual quote from an HIV-negative man who was speaking on behalf of his HIV-positive wife last week in Springfield. He was one of a diverse group of advocates who comprised the Families’ and Children’s AIDS Network (FCAN) action team. The group’s mission was to speak with legislators, tell their stories and urge lawmakers to oppose cuts in HIV funding and Medicaid. Read more by clicking the link above.
A proposed service cut to Medicaid may make it more difficult for people living with HIV to access once-a-day combination pills, according to a statement released by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC). The AFC has warned that the budget recommendations will create barriers to care and…
The month of April has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the United States. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.
This April, the 2012 Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) campaign centers on promoting healthy sexuality to prevent sexual violence.